Wellesley, MA (PressExposure) June 23, 2009 -- 1. Lack of Focus. This is probably the most damaging trap. Since most executive positions are found through networking, you should use your existing contacts to find useful new contacts. If you cannot explain where you want to go, it is very difficult for your contact to reach for his rolodex and make appropriate introductions.
2. No Plan/Wrong Plan. Finding a new position is very much like marketing a new product. Once you have identified product features and benefits and your unique value position and some research to identify potential markets, a structured approach using multiple sales channels works best. A search centered around advertisements, the Internet, search firms and direct mail is the usual fallback position and consistently leads to frustration and lack of success.
3. The 200 lb. Telephone. Searching via ads, letters, and the Web is frustrating, but doesn't put you at risk emotionally. Making a phone call however creates an opportunity to be rejected. so it is easy to defer phone calls. However, some of these long shot phone calls may lead to golden opportunity. The best strategy here is to tenaciously follow every lead.
4. The Executive Ego. Some executives are happy to talk at length about their past successes, and presume the listener will identify their strengths. They miss the opportunity to listen carefully then sell to "customer" problems.
5. The "Honey-do" List. Concern about rejection makes it easy to substitute other things, preempting the job search.
6. The Entrepreneurial Venture. Many clients believe the best way to a new position is through starting or buying a company. An easy trap is to devote 100% of your time to finding a company or finding financing for a startup. Continue to devote your time to a traditional search.
7. Lack of Discipline. Everybody says a job search can be a full time job. In many ways this is true, but there is one big difference - structure. In a job search, you are 100% responsible for the discipline of the search and the quality of your output.
8. Consulting. A reasonably effective search strategy is to use consulting as a door opener. But, if it requires a full time commitment, takes you out of the search effort or doesn't lead to new skills or new contacts, it should be evaluated very carefully.
9. Finishing the Search. Probably the worst mistake that you can make is stopping your networking and other career management initiatives when you find a new position. Career management is key. Keep up your network, stay marketable, keep in touch with search firms and stay active in industry/professional associations.
10. Doing It Alone. It is surprising how few people have established a support network and sounding board when there are so many resources available from industry/professional associations to colleges and universities to career consulting and outplacement firms.
"If you are in a job search you should carefully assess whether you have fallen into one or more of these traps. For those who have yet to begin their job search, you are now forewarned and forearmed," explained John Hackett, the company's executive vice president.